The possible existence of extraterrestrials has provoked more than five centuries of theological speculation on how these beings, if they exist, relate to God. A certain stream of thought present in these debates argues that the eventual discovery of aliens would obligate human Christians to evangelize them for the salvation of their souls. Current research into humanity's prehistory suggests that, if this ever actually happens, it will have been partially facilitated by humanity's remarkable capacity for interspecies empathy—an ability that seems (...) to be genetic in nature and which stems from our species' ancient experience with dogs. In light of the above, recommendations are made concerning future potential exomissionary screening criteria and a concluding section touches on the role of animals in God's work. (shrink)
In quantum relativistic Hamiltonian dynamics, the time evolution of interacting particles is described by the Hamiltonian with an interaction-dependent term (potential energy). Boost operators are responsible for (Lorentz) transformations of observables between different moving inertial frames of reference. Relativistic invariance requires that interaction-dependent terms (potential boosts) are present also in the boost operators and therefore Lorentz transformations depend on the interaction acting in the system. This fact is ignored in special relativity, which postulates the universality of Lorentz transformations and their (...) independence of interactions. Taking into account potential boosts in Lorentz transformations allows us to resolve the “no-interaction” paradox formulated by Currie, Jordan, and Sudarshan [Rev. Mod. Phys. 35, 350 (1963)] and to predict a number of potentially observable effects contradicting special relativity. In particular, we demonstrate that the longitudinal electric field (Coulomb potential) of a moving charge propagates instantaneously. We show that this effect as well as superluminal spreading of localized particle states is in full agreement with causality in all inertial frames of reference. Formulas relating time and position of events in interacting systems reduce to the usual Lorentz transformations only in the classical limit (ħ→0) and for weak interactions. Therefore, the concept of Minkowski space-time is just an approximation which should be avoided in rigorous theoretical constructions. (shrink)
Rayner & Riding identified two complementary approaches to the study of individual differences in learning; process-based models include the notion of 'approaches to studying', whilst cognition-centred model encompass 'cognitive styles'. A number of authors have posited theoretical relationships between these two aspects of learning . The present study sought to provide empirical elaboration for Curry's 'onion' model and Riding's 'cognitive control' model. It employed a questionnaire survey type approach and used the Cognitive Style Index which is a measure of (...) intuition-analysis style and a short form of the Approaches to Studying Inventory advocated by Gibbs et al. augmented by a collaborative scale suggested by the author. The hypothesised factor structure of Gibbs' short form of the ASI was not confirmed, however, the collaborative scale appeared reasonably robust and may warrant further development. A number of relationships were observed: females perceived themselves as being more analytical than males; analysts adopted a deeper approach than intuitives; intuitives had a stronger preference for collaborative approaches than analysts; and females were more achievement-oriented than males. The results are discussed with respect to the theoretical frameworks of Curry and of Riding and the practical implications for student learning in higher education. (shrink)
This article challenges the view of disability presented by Harris in his article, “Is gene therapy a form of eugenics?”1 It is argued that his definition of disability rests on an individual model of disability, where disability is regarded as a product of biological determinism or “personal tragedy” in the individual. Within disability theory this view is often called “the medical model” and it has been criticised for not being able to deal with the term “disability”, but only with impairment. (...) The individual model of disability presupposes a necessary causal link between a certain condition in the individual and disablement. The shortcomings of such a view of disability are stated and it is argued that in order to have an adequate ethical discourse on gene therapy perspectives from disability research need to be taken into consideration. (shrink)
In previous work we have developed Property Theory with Curry Typing (PTCT), an intensional first-order logic for natural language semantics. PTCT permits fine-grained specifications of meaning. It also supports polymorphic types and separation types. We develop an intensional number theory within PTCT in order to represent proportional generalized quantifiers like "most", and we suggest a dynamic type-theoretic approach to anaphora and ellipsis resolution. Here we extend the type system to include product types, and use these to define a permutation (...) function that generates underspecified scope representations within PTCT. We indicate how filters can be added to encode constraints on possible scope readings. Our account offers several important advantages over other current theories of underspecification. (shrink)
The literature about the history of eugenics in Britain and the U.S.A. is reviewed. The review is prefaced by a brief outline of the origins of eugenics in Britain. The material surveyed is grouped according to whether it deals with eugenics generally, or with the relationships between eugenics and particular biological or social sciences, or with other subjects to which the history of eugenics is relevant. The review concludes with remarks about the significance of the subject and some suggestions for (...) future research. (shrink)
The author explores various pedagogical methods concerning how to teach Wittgenstein’s later work. A significant obstacle for the incorporation of Wittgenstein into an undergraduate curriculum is to decipher the major features of his philosophical ideas. The engagement with Wittgenstein’s work is not a task of mere comprehension or thought, but rather of discernment and observation of the ways language operates in the formulation of ideas. The distinction between observation and thought in Wittgenstein’s work on language is often overlooked. In order (...) to teach Wittgenstein effectively, the curriculum should focus on various methods to teach students not just to think but to observe. The author offers a series of classroom exercises and games to engage students with the text and to elucidate philosophical components necessary to understand the author. The games direct students’ attention to what they need to notice and observe in the function of language in Wittgenstein’s later work. (shrink)
Beall and Cotnoir (2017) argue that theists may accept the claim that God's omnipotence is fully unrestricted if they also adopt a suitable nonclassical logic. Their primary focus is on the infamous Stone problem (i.e., whether God can create a stone too heavy for God to lift). We show how unrestricted omnipotence generates Curry‐like paradoxes. The upshot is that Beall and Cotnoir only provide a solution to one version of the Stone problem, but that unrestricted omnipotence generates other problems (...) which they do not adequately address. (shrink)
The Eugenic Mind Project is a wide-ranging, philosophical book that explores and critiques both past and present eugenic thinking, drawing on the author’s intimate knowledge of eugenics in North America and his previous work on the cognitive, biological, and social sciences, the fragile sciences. Informed by the perspectives of Canadian eugenics survivors in the province of Alberta, The Eugenic Mind Project recounts the history of eugenics and the thinking that drove it, and critically engages contemporary manifestations of eugenic thought, newgenics. (...) An accessible, original work of scholarship adopting what the author calls a standpoint eugenics, this book focuses on the roots of eugenic thinking past and present. It will provoke and enrich discussions about human nature and human diversity, the social uses of biotechnology, and social policy governing future generations. You can download the preface and acknowledgements here. (shrink)
In its comprehensive overview of Alain Locke's pragmatist philosophy this book captures the radical implications of Locke's approach within pragmatism, the critical temper embedded in Locke's works, the central role of power and empowerment of the oppressed and the concept of broad democracy Locke employed.
The CRISPR-Cas systems of bacterial and archaeal adaptive immunity have become a household name among biologists and even the general public thanks to the unprecedented success of the new generation of genome editing tools utilizing Cas proteins. However, the fundamental biological features of CRISPR-Cas are of no lesser interest and have major impacts on our understanding of the evolution of antivirus defense, host-parasite coevolution, self versus non-self discrimination and mechanisms of adaptation. CRISPR-Cas systems present the best known case in point (...) for Lamarckian evolution, i.e. generation of heritable, adaptive genomic changes in response to encounters with external factors, in this case, foreign nucleic acids. CRISPR-Cas systems employ multiple mechanisms of self versus non-self discrimination but, as is the case with immune systems in general, are nevertheless costly because autoimmunity cannot be eliminated completely. In addition to the autoimmunity, the fitness cost of CRISPR-Cas systems appears to be determined by their inhibitory effect on horizontal gene transfer, curtailing evolutionary innovation. Hence the dynamic evolution of CRISPR-Cas loci that are frequently lost and acquired by archaea and bacteria. Another fundamental biological feature of CRISPR-Cas is its intimate connection with programmed cell death and dormancy induction in microbes. In this and, possibly, other immune systems, active immune response appears to be coupled to a different form of defense, namely, “altruistic” shutdown of cellular functions resulting in protection of neighboring cells. Finally, analysis of the evolutionary connections of Cas proteins reveals multiple contributions of mobile genetic elements to the origin of various components of CRISPR-Cas systems, furthermore, different biological systems that function by genome manipulation appear to have evolved convergently from unrelated MGE. The shared features of adaptive defense systems and MGE, namely the ability to recognize and cleave unique sites in genomes, make them ideal candidates for genome editing and engineering tools. (shrink)
The presence of a seasonal pattern of spontaneous abortion in the United States was found using data from the two most recent cycles of the National Survey of Family Growth . The pattern was bimodal with peaks in March and August.
In Enhancing Evolution: The Ethical Case for Making Better People (2007), John Harris argues that a proper concern for the welfare of future human beings implies that we are morally obligated to pursue enhancements. Similarly, in “Procreative Beneficience: Why We Should Select The Best Children” (2001) and in a number of subsequent publications, Julian Savulescu has suggested that we are morally obligated to use genetic (and other) technologies to produce the best children possible. In this paper I argue that if (...) we do have such obligations then their implications are much more radical than either Harris or Savulescu admit. There is an uneasy tension in the work of these authors, between their consequentialism and their (apparent) libertarianism when it comes to the rights of individuals to use—or not use—enhancement technologies as they see fit. Only through a very particular and not especially plausible negotiation of the tension between their moral theory and their policy prescriptions can Harris and Savulescu obscure the fact that their philosophies have implications that most people would find profoundly unattractive. (shrink)
This paper uses Margaret Urban Walker’s “expressive collaborative” method of moral inquiry to examine and illustrate the morality of nurses in Great Britain from around 1860 to 1915, as well as nursing complicity in one of the first eugenic policies. The authors aim to focus on how context shapes and limits morality and agency in nurses and contributes to a better understanding of debates in nursing ethics both in the past and present.